12 APRIL 1940, Page 18

SIR, —Mr. Lee appears to think that one of the deeper

causes of the present war consisted in our imperialism. Now imperialism denotes the presence of an empire. Will Mr. Lee tell us where the British Empire is? I have consulted an excellent map of the world and utterly failed to find any such thing.

Does he refer to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa? If so, has he never heard of the Statute of Westminster? These are all free, independent nations, masters of their own destinies and bound to us by no ties save cultural, moral and spiritual. Or does he mean India? India has already been given a large measure of self-government and will receive full Dominion status as soon as she can resolve her internal discords. Or does he point to the Crown Colonies? All these are in various stages of progress towards self-government. Surely he cannot mean the mandated terri- tories? Whatever may have been the case in the past, a "British Empire" no longer exists today. For many years no "imperial claims" have been put forward by us.

What, too, does he mean by "international control "? Does he propose to carry this to its logical limits? If so, does he think that a governing concourse of nations which must neces- sarily include the proved aggressor countries of Germany, Russia, Italy and Japan would be preferable to present arrange- ments? If he does not propose to carry the idea to its logical conclusion, what countries would he exclude, and how would he propose to deal with the jealousies and distrusts thus created?

What a sad travesty of the facts is Mr. Lee's account of our pledge to Poland! We did not guarantee the status quo, but, on the contrary, advised and urged on both parties free nego- tiation. Knowing Hitler's methods, however, what we did do was to assure Poland that if he discarded negotiation and resorted to force we would come in on her side. He did so resort, and we have implemented our pledge at a great and grievous cost. We could do no other.

As regards the alleged failure to disarm, no well-informed Britisher will consent to wear sackcloth on that account. We were the one nation in Europe who, of its own free will, disarmed to the point of folly, and it was largely our weakness which tempted Germany to tread the path of aggression.

We all heartily wish that Germany could by the aid of "moral imagination" be won over to freedom and truth, but the moral foundation for success in the attempt does not yet exist there. Her best are murdered, exiled or in concentration camps, and as for the rest, how can their encaged minds be reached?

Present-day Germany, unreasonable, unmerciful and unjust, has screamed an appeal to the Caesar of Force. At long last, and after the failure of every effort to dissuade her, we have said : ." Unto Caesar shalt thou go! "—Yours faithfully,